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Local
4:52 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

No Suspects in Pitt Bomb Threats; Students Nervous

There have been more than 20 bomb threats against University of Pittsburgh buildings over the last 7 weeks, but authorities have no suspects. Two new threats against multiple buildings were received Thursday, one at 10:00 AM and the other about 12 hours later.

Campus police, federal authorities and experts are stumped by the threats that have prompted building evacuations and canceled classes.

Students nervous

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Economy
3:19 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Labor Economist Says New Job Numbers Are Misleading

Employment figures in America rose for the fourth month in a row, with 120,000 jobs added in March, although those numbers are lower than the previous string of 200,000-plus monthly gains.

However, Antony Davies, a labor economist and associate professor of economics at Duquesne University, isn't too optimistic about the recent figures. He said in comparison to population growth, the net job growth for last month was really only 10,000 jobs.

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Local
3:06 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Pennsylvania House Okays Freeze On Court-Ordered Reassessments

It's now up to the the state Senate whether there's a temporary halt to court-ordered property reassessments in Pennsylvania.

The state House has approved HB 2137, which imposes a moratorium until December 31, 2013. The General Assembly would then have until that date the opportunity to enact property tax reform legislation.

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Local
1:43 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

No Suspects In Bomb Threats

There have been more than 20 bomb threats against University of Pittsburgh buildings over the last 7 weeks, but authorities have no suspects. Two new threats against multiple buildings were received Thursday, one at 10:00 AM and the other about 12 hours later.

Campus police, federal authorities and experts are stumped by the threats that have prompted building evacuations.

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Economy
1:36 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

TSA Auction Of Confiscated Items To End Monday

The state's online auction of items confiscated at airports ends Monday morning.

Pennsylvania is taking bids on items expropriated in airports throughout the mid-Atlantic region, from Ohio to New Jersey.

It's no Sotheby's, but the commonwealth is hoping you'll be interested in all that stuff the Transportation Security Administration agents confiscate at security checkpoints.

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Government
12:42 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Romney Calls Obama An “Anti-Energy President"

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney blasted President Obama's energy policies during a campaign appearance in Marcellus Shale country.

Speaking at a Wyoming County company that supplies water for natural gas drilling, Romney called Mr. Obama an "anti-energy president." Romney pointed out states have typically taken the lead on regulating hydraulic fracturing.

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Government
7:00 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Presidential Campaigns Pick Up Steam In Pennsylvania

The presidential candidates are staking their claims on campaign headquarters in Pennsylvania, with the primary less than 20 days away.

Republican front-runner Mitt Romney breezed through Harrisburg to christen his capital city campaign headquarters and visited with a rope line of supporters.

"I understand there's not enough room for everybody to come inside. The roof is going to crush if you come down. So thanks for coming down, so thanks for coming down. Wish you could come inside. You could hear me speak for an hour or two," Romney said.

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Health
7:05 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Gene Mutations Linked to Autism Risk

New studies published in the scientific journal Nature show that genetic mutations in the womb may be the cause of 15% of cases of autism spectrum disorders.

Bernie Devlin, a professor of psychiatry in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health, and Kathryn Roeder, a professor of statistics and computational biology at Carnegie Mellon University, worked on the study, which was conducted by researchers from Harvard and Yale and the University of Washington.

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Environment
6:48 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Pennsylvania Among the States Best Prepared for Water Threats to Economy and Health

Pennsylvania is one of the best prepared states when it comes to readiness for water-related threats of climate change, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that ranks all 50 states on their level of preparedness.

Water-related climate change impacts include threats to water supply and quality, more frequent and severe storms, floods, and drought events.

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Local
4:44 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

More Bomb Threats At The University Of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh evacuated four buildings this morning after receiving a bomb threat aimed at the Cathedral of Learning, the Chevron Science Building, Frick Fine Arts Building and Posvar Hall. Over the last three weeks there have been 23 threats but no explosives have been found.

Students, faculty and staff have been on edge. Pitt Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Robert Hill told 90.5 FM's Essential Pittsburgh that the investigation continues into these threats and a $50,000 reward is now being offered for information.

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Local
4:43 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Region's Population Up, After Decades-Long Decline

The Allegheny County population — a number that has steadily ticked lower for most of the last 50 years — went up, according to a new report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

"The amount of population growth isn't large in itself, but this is still a unique region with more natural population decline, meaning more deaths than births, so the actual migration flow is larger than the numbers show," said Chris Briem, regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh's University Center for Social & Urban Research.

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Government
4:02 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Legislation Aims to Prevent Another ‘Kids for Cash'

The Pennsylvania State Senate unanimously approved a bill to help reform the Commonwealth's juvenile justice system. The legislation requires children to have a lawyer present at their hearings. If they do not have one, counsel will be provided for them.

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Economy
2:44 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Union Contract With AT&T Nears End

"Put the American back into American Telephone & Telegraph."

That was the message that Mary Lou Schaffer, President of Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 13550, along with about 100 members and supporters, were saying as they protested outside the AT&T building in downtown Pittsburgh this morning.

The existing labor contract for 40,000 employees nationwide, including 250 at Legacy T Core call centers in Pittsburgh, expires at midnight April 7.

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Government
1:53 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

First Step Toward Trimming Pennsylvania Legislature

State House members have approved a bill that could eventually eliminate 50 seats in their own chamber and 12 seats in the state Senate.

Both Democrats and Republicans voiced opposition to the proposal in a floor debate that stretched on for three days. They say cutting the number of House lawmakers from 203 to 153 will mean constituents have a harder time getting a hold of their representatives.

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Transportation
8:27 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Protesters Demand More Public Transit Funding

Several dozen protesters gathered outside the City-County Building in downtown Pittsburgh Wednesday to decry proposed public transit cuts.

Occupy Pittsburgh and the local Amalgamated Transit Union teamed up to demand that the state provide more funding to the Port Authority of Allegheny County. PAT is facing a $64 million budget deficit, and plans for a 35% service cut to take effect this September.

ATU Local 85 President Patrick McMahon said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett must take action to fund public transit.

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Government
7:35 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

House Republicans Sue Over Education Funding Law

Two state House lawmakers are preparing to file a lawsuit against the commonwealth to force a change in education funding. They say the rules behind which districts get a bigger piece of the pie are unfair to areas that have experienced huge population growth.

The lawsuit is centered on a state law that in 1991 made it illegal for any school district to get less state money than it got the year before.

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Economy
6:53 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

City Council Delays Responsible Banking Bill Again

Pittsburgh City Council voted Wednesday for a one-week hold on a bill that would set community investment standards for banks that do business with the city government.

Sponsoring Councilman Daniel Lavelle said the delay will allow him time to write in language for a Reinvestment Review Committee. That body of council members, administrative employees and community members would decide which banks to use as city depositories, based on a set of criteria. The city controller would oversee the process.

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Local
6:48 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Demolition in Homewood’s “Killing Fields” Marks Opening Day for Demolition Season

The city of Pittsburgh started the demolition season today as properties on Collier Street named the "killing fields" in Homewood began falling to the ground. Of the 1,507 housing units in South Homewood, only 72 percent are occupied according to the 2010 Census.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says since condemning these properties in 2008, the city aggressively asked the sometimes uncooperative owners to either improve the property or have it demolished.

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Government
6:44 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Santorum Stops at a Carnegie Diner, Vows to Stay in the Race

Many of the people eating at Bob's Diner in Carnegie weren't expecting to see a presidential candidate on Wednesday, but several said they were pleasantly surprised to see Rick Santorum there, eating breakfast and chatting with customers.

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Local
5:29 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

JazzLive International Festival Returns to Pittsburgh

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has been celebrating April as Jazz Appreciation month for more than 10 years. It's become a national celebration, and Pittsburgh has been involved since the beginning. This year, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust chose one of their signature Jazz Appreciation Month events (last night at the Cabaret at Theater Square before the Gregory Porter Concert) to announce the line-up for something that has been attracting national and international attention.

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Government
3:30 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Legislation Would Lower Business Taxes, Close “Delaware Loophole"

The state House Finance Committee has passed a corporate tax reform package that will attempt to close a loophole, but opponents warn the method will hurt the state if it becomes law.

"Multi-state companies can send money to other states with lower tax rates, or no taxes, and in that way avoid paying taxes in Pennsylvania," said Sharon Ward, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

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Government
1:56 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

State Lawmakers Seek Justice for Trayvon Martin

More than a month after the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, Pennsylvania lawmakers are joining in the nationwide wave of demonstrations calling for an investigation into the shooter.

House and Senate lawmakers have donned hoodies on the state Capitol steps to show their outrage. Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) says Martin's death is symptomatic of systemic discrimination.

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Arts
1:39 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Carnegie Library Brings Pittsburgh's Industrial Past into the Internet Age

Picture a team of librarians, poring through now-antiquated card catalogs and skimming through seldom-used stacks. They're looking for specific documents: pictures, books, trade catalogs, maps -- anything that helps define the metals industries that dominated Pittsburgh for the better part of the city's history.

Then, the boxes and boxes of books and papers are shipped off to a facility on the North Side, where they're scanned into hundreds of gigabytes worth of computer files.

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Government
2:59 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Santorum to Stay in Race – Vows to Win Pennsylvania

Despite a three-way loss in primary races on Tuesday, Rick Santorum told a crowd gathered in Marshall Township that he's not backing down. The former Pennsylvania Senator appealed to supporters in his home state, and said he's confident he can catch up in the delegate count.

"We have now reached a point where it's half time," said Santorum. "Half the delegates in the process have been selected, and who's ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for strong second half?"

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Government
9:16 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Senate Democrats Introduce Budget Proposal

When Pennsylvania lawmakers return from their Easter and primary election recess, the emphasis will be on the state budget.

Governor Tom Corbett has proposed a $27.1 billion spending plan for the new fiscal year that begins July 1. It holds the line on taxes and closes a projected deficit of $700 million, in part by trimming appropriations to the 14 state-owned universities by 20%, and cutting funding to the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State and Temple by 30%.

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